I finally figured out how to describe my attitude/philosophy around cooking. I don’t really like cooking but I love assembling things. Like making toasts and/or a really good salad. Does that make any sense? Like, I have absolutely zero desire to have you over for chicken and pasta or meat and potatoes… but a really good salad? A cheese board? Fun little appetizers, dips, and side dishes? I’m your girl. This works well with my boyfriend. He is great on the grill and I can make good snacks and a salad.
I love making a big salad, especially this time of year (and I’m not just talking a classic potato salad or pasta salad). Here in Charleston I joined Community Supported Grocery and for just over $30, every Thursday I get an epic delivery of seasonal produce + fresh bread and eggs. It is my absolute favorite. And summer’s abundance of fresh produce makes salad season even better. If you ask me, a big bowl of bountiful salad can make any summer meal more special and nutritious. Or, add some protein and your summer salad recipes can BE the meal!
Also, before we get into the recipes, if you do not yet own Salad Freak by Jess Damuck, stop reading this post and go buy it. I probably make a salad recipe from it at least once a week. It is truly the best cookbook if you love salads (but not like, rabbit food salads… you want them to be interesting!). It is my absolute favorite cookbook.
14 favorite summer salads
We make this panzanella salad all the time. I mean… salad with bread? What could be better!?
Rabbithole’s Steak Salad
Back when I lived in Brooklyn, my favorite neighborhood spot was a place called The Rabbithole. It was a little hole in a wall and just a couple blocks from my apartment. This dish was my favorite salad. Now that I live in Charleston, I like to make it. Just take a big bowl of arugula and top it with blue cheese, orange wedges, and grilled steak. For the dressing, I like to mix up some orange juice, champagne vinegar, and olive oil. Simple and easy but so delicious. Citrus and blue cheese make for such a tasty pairing.
My friend Molly taught me how to make this poke bowl and while it isn’t a salad per say, it’s a lot like a salad, so I included it here. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made/eaten… so delicious and healthy! And again, less cooking and more cutting things up and assembling!
Other people’s recipes…
Salmon Burger salad
So this is cheating sort of but I love these salmon burgers so much (but don’t like to have a heavy “burger” all the time). So I make extra and freeze them and then serve them over greens salad style. I like to serve them using the herb aioli from the recipe as a salad dressing. Or, if I’m feeling lazy just use store bought tzatziki dip as your dressing.
I could write sonnets about this salad. It’s literally just LOVE it. Any time my boyfriend is staying with me I make a double batch in advance (as he eats so much) and we both just love it. And it has potatoes! I love a salad that involves carbohydrates. It is an extremely delicious, hearty, satisfying salad and it keeps well for a few days in the fridge. You will want to eat it for lunch and dinner, it’s that good!
Okay Julia is a genius with this one… if you have ever been to Hillstone, you’ve probably had their steak salad. It is amazing. And this is a very very good recreation of it! Truly just so yummy and decadent (despite being overall, pretty healthy!). The perfect way to use up leftover grilled steak!
This is another recipe that I make all the time. It’s just so good. I make the chicken and sometimes I do the salad but other times I will just put the chicken on toast or even pizza. Beyond delicious.
Easy Summer Salads that aren’t really recipes… I just throw them together.
Summer sweet Corn Salad
I posted this recipe to my Instagram reels (photo above) and it’s just so incredibly delicious (and easy!) It’s reminiscent of Mexican street corn but a tad healthier. The key is to use lots and lots of parmesan, + that dressing! (1 big tablespoon of mayo (I like vegan mayonnaise, the juice of one lime, + hot sauce). It could be great as a grilled corn salad too!
Peach & Burrata
Nothing is better than fresh peaches and burrata. Serve over a bed of greens with a little balsamic vinegar and good olive oil.
tomato and mozzarella
Equally as delightful as peach and burrata… tomato + mozzarella! I like to do this with greens, basil, lemon olive oil, and sea salt to make a classic caprese salad. The lemon olive oil plays so nicely with the tomato and mozzarella.
A classic for a reason. My favorite. I have been very into french feta cheeses… I love Valbresco. Mix in a bit of red onion, fresh cucumbers, olives, juicy tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a summer staple!
If you are bored of lettuce salads, try using broccoli as a base! I like to steam it, let it cool, and then serve with other vegetables as a “salad.”
marinated cucumber salad
A personal stab at the famous Leon’s Oyster Shop side dish. The easiest dish to meal prep for lunch…I simply throw in some toasted sesame seeds and rice vinegar!
goat cheese & beets
Another classic. Goat cheese, beets, arugula… perfect!
A modern spin on a classic fruit salad. I like to add cucumber, feta cheese, and some sort of acid (red wine vinegar is a must)!
lazy girl buffalo chicken salad
I will often just make a big salad, add some pre-cooked grilled chicken, and then dump Frank’s hot sauce and blue cheese dressing all over it. So lazy but so good.
Hope this gave you some good ideas… tell me your favorites in the comments!